You may not realize it, but unless you live off the grid, eat your meals raw, wear a loincloth, and walk to work, you’re contributing to air pollution.
It’s not your fault – virtually everything we do in modern society puts pollutants in the air, one way or another.
There are a number of things you can do to limit your personal pollution output -- they’re not only fun and easy but also can make a serious difference!.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for lowering your impact.
Use public transport
Whether you live in a city or in the countryside, there are numerous methods of traveling from A to B. From cars to taxis, buses to bicycles, Segway’s to scooters, even swimming up or downstream, it can feel sometimes like a jungle out there, with seemingly endless choices for how to get from home to work and back again.1
Since transportation is a chief source of global pollution, it’s a good place to start if you are looking to reduce your impact.
If your journey to work, like most of us, is too far for walking and too short for flying, seize the opportunity to jump on a bus or subway.
Taxis can be more relaxing than getting squished on the subway during rush hour.
But it can be easy to forget that taxi rides are responsible for a whole journey’s worth of emissions – maybe even two, with drivers trawling the streets before and after we enjoy the ride.
Luckily - there are many cheaper (and greener) ways to get around.
Grab a segway, bicycle, or pony
Remember that guy whizzing past you standing on a Back-to-the-Future-esque, cool-looking wheeled platform without breaking a sweat? That could be you.
If inspiring awe (or disdain) on a futuristic commute isn’t your scene, then grab your padded shorts and lycra up for an early cycle. You’ll be beating the traffic with toned, sun-beaten legs before you know it.
Alternatively, why not consider broadening your skillset and try riding a pony, if you’re out of inspiration?
If you can’t resist the 4-wheeled machines, keep it green
If you are in the market for a car, new or used, do your research on fuel efficiency.
A zero-emissions automobile is ideal, but over the past 10 years, great strides have been made in the development of hybrid vehicles that emit much less than 100% gas-driven cars.2
Similarly, consider opening up your vehicle door to friends and set up a carpool. Streamline your cash and pollution, whilst making yourself popular. If you drive every day to work with an empty car, this is for you.
Reconnect with your feet
Old-fashioned as it may seem, walking from place to place is not only healthy and emission-free, but can also be surprisingly efficient even across a big city.
Any activity tracker fiends will attest that some healthy competition goes a long way to make a stroll a more appealing option.
Now, think about all the amazing home appliances that make your daily life easier.
Most of these likely use electricity, which is largely still produced from unsustainable sources across the world.3
Limiting your electricity usage at home (and anywhere else, for that matter) is a super easy, but easily forgotten way to reduce a leading contributor of airborne pollution (energy production) from the source. Here are a few tips to do so.
Turn off and unplug unused electronics
Electronic devices can use electricity even when switched off.
Try an Appliance Energy Calculator to see just how much your everyday devices might be using up excess energy.4
Avoid single-use plastic cups, plates
Carry a reusable cup with you for drinks on-the-go.
When ordering take-out, kindly ask the restaurant owners to avoid giving unnecessary disposable tableware.
Reduce your energy bills
It’s no secret that air conditioners and heaters, even the energy-efficient ones, draw a lot of power.5
By using a fan instead of an air conditioner, you will save money on your electric bill while also helping the environment.
Turn your heater down and add an extra blanket on your bed. If you must use your A/C, try going up 1°C (or 2°F) in the summer and down 1°C (or 2°F) in the winter.
Look for the Recycled logo
Using products that use recycled materials cuts down on the waste produced by buying products with packaging that are produced new.
In some cases, the product may be a little more expensive, but the pollution saving down the chain of manufacturing will help the environment.
Eat less meat
Sad though it may be to hear it, meat production is a highly inefficient way to produce food.
Per kilogram produced, meat burns through more land, water, and other food, and importantly, produces more polluting emissions than non-meat produce such as grains, fruit, or veggies.6
But fear not: no-one’s asking you to go complete cold turkey in order to improve the air.
Simply cutting down with a meat-free meal or two per week can have a significant impact on your food footprint.
Encourage friends to reduce their footprint as well
Your friends and family are all affected by poor air quality. Talk to them about it!
Every friend you convince to reduce their footprint multiplies your personal impact and helps you to bathe in planetary good karma as well as cleaner air.
We may all feel like a cog in the machine contributing to the global air pollution problem but we can still make a difference in reducing our footprint.
See what’s polluting your home and neighborhood with the AirVisual Series air quality monitor.